Simmons named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month again

Ben Simmons has been named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for the second time this season, the NBA announced today.

Playing in 12 games in January, the Aussie averaged 17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists on 53 percent shooting from the field while guiding the Sixers to a 7-5 record. Simmons also recorded the fifth triple-double of his rookie season in a game against Chicago, registering 19 points, 14 assists and a career-high 17 rebounds.

Simmons is the first Australian to win the award multiple times, and just the second to ever win it after Andrew Bogut was given the honours in January of his rookie season in 2006.

The Sixers picked up several impressive wins during January, sweeping their season series against San Antonio while also picking up a home win over the Raptors. Philly split wins with the Celtics, with one of their two meetings taking place at the O2 Arena in London as part of the NBA’s Global Games.

Simmons’ outstanding month was made somewhat bittersweet as he was announced as a participant in the Rising Stars Challenge at the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Los Angeles but also missed out on a spot in the All-Star game itself. In making the Rising Stars Challenge, Simmons becomes just the fourth Australian behind Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum to compete in the event.

The Aussie had to stave off tough competition to receive the award, with Boston first year player Jayson Tatum and Chicago rookie Lauri Markkanen also having impressive months. Simmons’ Western Conference counterpart for the award was Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. The explosive guard continued his remarkable rookie campaign, posting 22.2 points per game in the month and in doing so, keeps the Rookie of the Year debate alive after it seemed a foregone conclusion that Simmons would run away with the honour in the early part of the season.

Simmons and the Sixers kick off February when they take on the Heat in Philadelphia at 12PM AEST tomorrow.